Working the Steps can create the miracle of sobriety, but the miracle isn’t magic. The miracle occurs because working the Twelve Steps allows people to use powerful principles of recovery. Those who are willing to dig beneath the surface and truly understand the principles upon which the Steps are based are better able to use the principles in their lives (Gorski, 1989, p.2).
To reiterate what Terence T. Gorski has expressed, those who are willing to truly adopt and ‘work’ the Twelve Steps experience the persuasive nature of one of the most powerfully rhetorical texts of modern society1
To gain perspective on this very unfamiliar rhetorical text, I accepted an invitation to attend an open A.A. meeting as a guest. Before entering this meeting I underestimated and misunderstood Kenneth Burke’s complex notion of rhetoric as a phenomenon dependant on audience self-persuasion. I attended the meeting with this simplified notion of rhetoric in mind. I mistakenly expected to experience individual alcoholics express their personal gratitude to the Twelve Steps for their healing and sobriety. However, in opposition I experienced a fellowship, one where numerous individuals are able to understand and reiterate each other’s successes and failures, struggles with the Twelve Steps and above all, they share utmost gratitude for the honest and supportive community created through the Twelve Steps. While my first understanding of Burkean rhetoric is true, I ignorantly had not understood the power... [continues]
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